K9s for Warriors and Merrick Pet Care: People Helping Dogs, Dogs Helping Heroes
K9s for Warriors is the most unique and fabulous Service Dog Training Facility around. On this beautiful 14 acres lies a brand new state of the art sanctuary, designed to train service dogs and to invite our military men and women veterans to stay there for weeks - to be paired and trained for their new service dog who will help them deal with Post Traumatic Stress from war and equip them to re-enter the world. K9’s for Warriors was founded by Shari Duval and is aided by the gracious support of Merrick Pet Care, North America’s largest Natural Dog Food brand. Join us as Shari Duval and Merrick’s Pete Brace lead us on this world-changing and life affirming Super Smiley Adventure!
I am the President for K9s For Warriors. We save warriors and rescue dogs. Some are veterans, some are active duty, and all are heroes and have served in the military. Our warriors all suffer from post-traumatic stress (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI), a deadly disorder.
I worked as a volunteer for veterans charities here in Jacksonville, Florida and watched the amazing work they do to empower our returning military veterans. I saw firsthand the number of warriors returning home with an invisible disorder, post-traumatic stress, it inspired me and my family to look for ways to aid these deserving heroes.
My son, a veteran K9 police officer, worked as a contractor for the Department of the Army as a bomb dog handler. He served two tours in Iraq and returned home with PTSD. This really hit home to our family. After two years of research on canine assistance for PTSD we decided the best way we could help these deserving warriors was to start a non-profit organization to train and give service canines to assist our warriors’ efforts to return to civilian life with dignity and independence.
Service canines, properly trained, are a profound alternative for recovery from PTSD and TBI. We have been honored to serve these brave men and women that have given this country so much. There is no charge for our service it is our duty, honor and privilege. For three weeks our warriors live at our facility where they train and learn to re-enter civilian life again. We are a small charity doing huge work, and making a difference. Our men and women of our military fought for our tomorrows, we fight for theirs.
Our program has been successful, with documented recovery from the debilitating horrors of war, but the need is critical and overwhelming. We currently have a year-long waiting list, we must do more. Our plans are to expand our current program to serve more warriors. We will continue our goal of serving our Nation’s Greatest Asset, our Military Men and Women.
Merrick Natural Petworks is a private equity owned +$150M company in the fast growing premium, natural pet food industry. The current company is a merger between Merrick Petcare and Castor & Pollux, two industry leading, founder-built companies that are committed to providing the highest level of health, nutrition and food safety for pet families in North America. The company's brands include: Merrick Classic, Merrick Grain Free, Organix, Natural Ultramix, BG (Before Grains), Whole Earth Farms and Good Buddy treats.
Merrick Natural Petwork's products are leaders in the Independent Pet Specialty channel, as well as strong performers at Petco, PetSmart, Whole Foods Markets, online and at other leading retailers.
Unlike many in the industry, Merrick makes all of our own pet food in our kitchens and manufacturing facilities headquartered in Amarillo, Texas. Castor & Pollux was founded in Clackamas, Oregon and is the leader in organic and natural pet products in North America. The ORGANIX® product line was the first certified organic pet food to meet all of the labeling requirements established by the USDA’s National Organic Program. The company celebrates the love of pets in the family, and is committed to feeding pets in need.